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Expert Statements on California Egg Farm Investigation

Independent experts in bird welfare and veterinary medicine reviewed the video footage from MFA's undercover investigation of Quality Egg of New England. Below are some of their statements:

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., P.A.S.

Dr. Grandin is perhaps the world's leading expert on farmed-animal welfare. She is an associate professor of livestock behavior at Colorado State University and an animal welfare advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the meat industry. Dr. Grandin states:

"Throwing live birds into the trash can is a total violation of animal welfare standards."

"This farm is a disgrace to the egg industry."

"(T)he place is a filthy, disgusting mess and very poorly maintained. The chickens look awful as well."

 

Bernard Rollin, Ph.D.

Dr. Rollin is the Distinguished Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and is well-known internationally for his over 30 years of work in animal welfare. He was a major architect of federal laws protecting laboratory animals, and written two books on farm animal welfare. He serves on the Pew commission examining confined animal feeding operations and is an expert witness on animal welfare issues in the US and abroad. Dr. Rollin states:

"The facility depicted in the video appears to suffer from extremely poor management and labor that has no concern for the animals."

"The workers show total disregard for the animals and the physical facilities are deficient."

"Most atrocious is the handling of the animals. Workers attempt to kill animals by casually spinning them by the neck, a questionable approach to cervical dislocation. In any case, the birds are then discarded before death is confirmed. This atrocity is compounded by workers throwing live birds into barrels full of dead ones, presumably to die of suffocation."

Click here for Dr. Rollin's entire statement.

Sara Shields, Ph.D.

Dr. Shields is an animal welfare scientist and teaches animal sciences. Dr. Shields earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis, in the Animal Behavior program. There she worked with both broiler chickens and laying hens. She also worked in the Emergency Disease Program at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Dr. Shields states:

"Hens in battery cages cannot engage in the bulk of their normal behavioral patterns, including natural nesting, dustbathing, perching, exploring, and foraging, all of which are important for the well-being of the hen."

"The cages in this video are clearly in a dilapidated state, and the fact that entire cage floor bottoms are missing in some shots is very disturbing, as the safety of the hens is severely jeopardized."

"There appears to be a lack of emphasis on respectful, compassionate treatment of the hens at this egg production operation, a problem that seems widespread in the industry. In my opinion, the cruelty involved is immense, obvious, and in need of immediate redress."

Click here for Dr. Shields' entire statement.

Debra Teachout DVM, MVsc

Dr. Teachout is a practicing veterinarian who graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine with an advanced degree in veterinary clinical pathology and received her Master of Veterinary Science at Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Teachout states:

"There is an exorbitant amount of animal suffering and abuse occurring in this video. As a veterinarian I am appalled by the apparent lack of concern for the physical and psychological basic necessities of keeping hens for egg production."

"One worker stands on the head and neck of one hen before kicking her into the pit. These handling techniques are atrocious and cause an extreme amount of undue pain and suffering before the hen eventually succumbs to her injuries and dies; or, dies from starvation and dehydration."

"From the veterinary and animal welfare standpoint and from a basic human decency standpoint, there is absolutely no excuse for the conditions and actions seen in this video."

Click here for Dr. Teachout's entire statement.

Robert Teti, DVM

Dr. Teti received his Bachelorís degree in Biology from Ursinus College & his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Teti states:

"This particular video documents practices that are carried out and observations which demonstrate the laying hens enduring blatant cruelty and neglect."

"There is no reason to doubt that the birds that were spun around while grasped by their neck and tossed to the floor were experiencing pain. This is not an acceptable way of neither handling a bird nor killing a bird."

"In my professional opinion, there appears to well-documented evidence in the video of laying hens that endured neglect and cruelty, ultimately leading to their suffering unnecessarily. These conditions appear to be outside the boundaries of what would be considered acceptable for an agricultural animal to have to endure."

Click here for Dr. Teti's entire statement.

Nedim C. Buyukmihci, VMD

Dr. Buyuckmihci is an Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. He has over 34 years of experience, much of it involving farmed animals including chickens. Dr. Buyuckmihci states:

"There is no question that the manner in which the chickens depicted in the videotape were treated was cruel by any normal definition of the word and resulted in suffering for the birds. The treatment of the hens violated norms of conduct with respect to animal welfare and veterinary care. None of this was necessary in order to pursue the purpose of the facility, which appeared to be the production of eggs. As such, it seems to me that this would constitute a violation of applicable animal cruelty laws."

Click here for Dr. Buyuckmihci's entire statement.

Angela Duke, DVM

Dr. Duke is a practicing veterinarian who regularly treats domestic birds. She graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Duke states:

"The entire facility seems to be a disgrace. It is overcrowded with many hens crammed into cages together."

"I can confidently state that these hens are clearly suffering."

Click here for Dr. Duke's entire statement.

Geoff Ball, DVM

Dr. Ball is a licensed veterinarian with 18 years of experience working with animals. As part of Dr. Ball's training he has studied poultry farming and zoonotic disease. As a veterinarian, Dr. Ball's daily job involved evaluating animals for pain and stress in various situations. Dr Ball states:

"It is well documented that many of the battery cages used by this facility were in bad repair. The gaps in the wire have lead to a decrease in overall health of a number of the animals being housed... The disrepair of the factory is leading to unnecessary stress, suffering and an increase in disease at the farm."

Click here for Dr. Ball's entire statement.

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